The Baltimore Orioles have been comeback artists in 2023 with 19 comeback wins in the first two months of the season. However, on Friday we learned that two key Orioles pitchers have had their own personal comebacks delayed.
Orioles executive vice president and GM Mike Elias provides updates on injured Orioles
John Means (Tommy John surgery)
John Means underwent Tommy John surgery in April 2022. Means' recovery has been slow and steady, and the Orioles have no intentions of trying to rush their ace back early. During a non-throwing activation drill, Means strained his left teres major (a muscle in the upper back). The good news is that the new injury is not related to the Tommy John injury. The bad news is that Means' recovery timeline has been extended indefinitely. GM Mike Elias stated of Means "We're still very much hoping to get him back this season...". While Elias was not able to provide specifics, he did state that Means is not expected back before the August 1 trade deadline.
Dillon Tate (right elbow flexor strain)
Dillon Tate was diagnosed with an elbow injury back in mid February. Tate was originally expected to return to the Orioles in late April / early May, but that time has come and gone. Tate began a rehab assignment on April 26 and was expected to need 5-6 appearances before rejoining the Orioles, but things have not gone to plan. In 10 appearances across three minor league levels, Tate has yielded 13 ER in only 8.1 innings pitched, "good" enough for a 14.04 ERA. Clearly something was not right with Tate and he was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his right elbow that is "...separate from the previous injury..." per Elias. Tate will remain on the IL and begin a new rehab assignment with the hope to return in June.
Colton Cowser (left quadriceps tightness)
The Orioles #2 prospect, Colton Cowser, was put on the minor league IL with left quadriceps tightness. Cowser had been having a massive season and was doing everything he could to break into the majors before the injury. It has been six days since Cowser was put on the 7-day IL in Norfolk without an update. Cowser was expected to be shut down for at least a week, so let's hope that no news is good news.
Also in Norfolk, Kyle Stowers and top prospects Hudson Haskin and Seth Johnson are all on the IL. Not much has gone wrong for the Birds this season, but these injuries certainly aren't what Oriole fans wanted to hear. The good news is that Mychal Givens and Ramon Urias have returned from their respective injuries, and the Orioles have plenty of depth to deal with the injuries that occur in a 162-game season.